Do you want to start a blog but have no idea where to start? I understand! I felt the same way when I started this blog! Well, my friend, you have come to the right place. I have created 10 steps to starting a blog, just for you!
Starting out, I was completely overwhelmed by all of the information available to me. I found myself spending hours and hours sitting in front of the computer just researching and taking notes. What’s wrong with that you ask? Well nothing, sort of.
You need to do your research, but I was stressing instead of blogging. I was researching so much that I wasn’t being productive at all.
I don’t want you to experience this same frustration. Believe me, when I tell you, the stress I put on myself wasn’t worth it. This guide is going to get you started in the blogging world stress-free!
Once you get your blog started and you’re ready to start making money from your blog, be sure and read our post Affiliate Marketing Programs for Bloggers.
*This post contains affiliate links. By purchasing through these links, we get a small commission at no additional cost to you. *That Texas Couple is also a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.
10 Steps to Starting a Blog
1. Find your focus:
Starting a blog can be hard! But if you are truly wanting to start a blog, then continue on. You can do it!
All of the blogging “experts” will tell you that the focus of your blog has to be something that you are passionate about. So ask yourself the following questions:
- What are you truly passionate about?
- What experiences do you have that could help or inspire others?
- If you could do a dream job, what would it be?
- What type of things do people often seek your help on?
- How can you expand or make better something that someone else is already doing?
- What do you find yourself always talking to people about?
We started blogging as a way to document our travel journies. We thought it would be a fun media to interact with our family and friends. Our goal was to just share our stories and pictures with them along the way. O
ur blog has evolved into much more, and I am extremely happy with the progress we have made.
While learning about building a blog, I found myself fascinated by the blogging process and the blogging community. Because of this new fascination, I decided to add the blogging section to our site.
I want to help people learn to build a blog. Granted, we will be learning together a lot of the time, because I am the first to admit that I am not super “techy”.
You notice that the title of this section is to find your FOCUS, not you NICHE. A niche is often a little too specific. I know, this goes against what all of the experts say, but I truly feel a focus is better than a niche.
Our focus as a travel and lifestyle blog is helping couples to achieve a life of adventure regardless of their circumstances. Starting a blog and creating some passive income will help you to do just that!
2. Choose Your Blog Name
According to Shakespeare, “What’s in a name? That by which we call a rose: by any other name would still smell as sweet…”
While true for a rose, not so true for your blog! The name of your blog is important. It represents your brand!
Things to consider when naming your site:
- Who does your focus serve?
- What will you be helping people with?
- Is your name easy to remember?
- Is your name easy to spell?
Check the availability of your domain name here.
Check Your Name on Social Media
Once you’ve found your domain name, ensure that it is available on all social media outlets.
The website, Namechk, makes it fast and easy to see if your name is available on the various social media sites.
3. Secure Your Domain Name and Acquire Hosting
Friends, there is such a big difference between free hosting and self-hosting. When we started our blog, this was one of the most important things I learned. Being the frugal man he is, Marty wanted free.
I mean, who doesn’t like free, right! But free isn’t always better, especially when it comes to blogging.
- If you are free hosting, you are bound to the Terms and Conditions of your host
- You may run into issues when you start to monetize
- Your content isn’t your property
Don’t confuse WordPress.com and WordPress.org. They are very different! Here is a great article that compares the two.
Get a self-hosted WordPress blog! The benefits are well worth the small investment.
Once you become familiar with the software, you will find it’s easy to navigate and become a pro in no time. Trust me, if I did it, you can too!
Set up your hosting and domain name
To get your site up and running, you need a domain and hosting.
Bluehost is a great service that I recommend for hosting your blog. I loved how easy it was to set up and get started with Bluehost. Bluehost offers:
- 24/7 tech support
- One click WordPress installation
- A 30-day money back guarantee
- Over $150 in offers to help grow your site
- A free domain name (which usually you have to pay separately for)
You can acquire hosting from Bluehost for as little as $3.95 a month by using the links in this post! That’s less than the price of a latte!
4. Install WordPress
With Bluehost, this is as easy as the push of a button on your Bluehost dashboard. If you are stuck or ever need help, then just give the Bluehost technical support team a call.
Like I said before, they are available 24/7. They will either walk you through the process, or they will do it for you if you prefer.
So, there you have it. You officially have a blog. Now, granted, it is a blank website right now, but you’re about to change that!
5. Pick a Theme
Choosing the right theme is essential for your blog. A theme determines how your blog will look and is the first impression for your readers. For me, this was the hardest part of getting our blog up and running.
To be honest with you, I changed themes four times!
There are several free themes in the WordPress dashboard that will definitely get you up and running. The problem I kept experiencing with the free themes is that they did not allow all of the customizations that I desired.
We recently switched our website to Elegant Themes, and boy am I glad I did! We are running the Divi 3.0 platform and I absolutely love it. I am not a web designer, and I know I still have a lot to learn, but the tutorial videos and training guides from Elegant Themes has made learning Divi so easy.
I love all of the customizable features and honestly, I am have so much fun designing our website. Check out Elegant Themes for yourself-THEY ROCK!
6. Download Plugins and Tools
WordPress has an amazing amount of plugins available for you to install on your website. These features help to fight spam, build an e-mail list, advertise, or track your site’s analytical data.
Now, don’t go crazy and put every plugin you find on your site. Too many plugins might cause your site to slow down, and no one likes a slow site!
Here are a few plugins that I would recommend installing immediately:
- Askimet– An anti-spam plugin
- Google Analytics Dashboard–Google Analytics Dashboard allows you to view your Google Analytics in your WordPress dashboard
- WordPress SEO by Yoast–WordPress SEO by Yoast offers everything you need to optimize your site. This plugin is one of my favorites.
- Social Warfare-Social media sharing is so important in the blogging business. I highly recommend purchasing Social Warfare Pro and installing it on your blog from day 1! The share buttons not only allow you to control the context of your shares, but they also display valuable social counts to your audience. All of this without affecting the load speed of your site. What are you waiting for? Download it today! LOL!
- Grammarly-Grammarly is an online proofreader and editor that is awesome! I seem to have a mental block when it comes to comma rules, but Grammarly saves me every time!
- Once you download Grammarly onto your browser and computer, it does all of the work for you. It makes a suggestion when you need to shorten sentences, it will help you correct misspelled words, and catch all of your comma mistakes (ME!).
- Grammarly also offers a paid version that has over 150 advanced checks, 30 different document types, and a built-in plagiarism feature. Download it today and see what a difference it makes in your writing.
7. Start Gathering E-Mail Addresses
Begin collecting e-mail addresses the day you launch your blog. Why is this so important?
It is YOUR marketing tool that cannot be taken away. Think about it, you can have thousands of followers on social media, but the minute that the social media accounts change their platforms, or lose ground, then poof…your followers are gone!
Don’t risk losing all of your followers, collect e-mails from day one!
There are several options for this, so choose the one best suited for your needs and budget. Some items to consider when choosing an e-mail list provider should include:
- Features-E-mail templates, drag and drop templates, mobility, social media integration, tracking tools, scheduling features
- Fees-What fees are associated with their service?
- Delivery-Ensure the provider you are looking at has a high delivery rate. Make sure they are a reputable provider and they have high standards for their opt-in requirements.
So which provider should you use? Here is a comparison article that might help you decide what provider is better for you.
8. Create your “basics”
Start your blog with a few basics.
- Sidebar-about section, opt-in, social links, popular posts, advertising
9. Begin Writing Blog Posts
Now to the heart of your blog. Focus your energy here. Create great, compelling content for your blog that fits your focus. Take the time to develop your writing style, find your voice, and to get comfortable putting your words on paper.
Writing posts was difficult for me at first. I used to do a lot of writing, and actually received awards for my writing when I was in High School. Yet for some reason, the thought of putting my writing out for the world to read was highly intimidating to me.
Finally, I just sucked it up and started doing it. Trust me, it isn’t bad.
Again, writing about a topic that you know and love helps tremendously. Stay with your passion and don’t stray from your focus and you will be just fine.
Write a post, include some great photos and hit the “publish” button. You won’t regret it!
10. Learn More About Blogging
This is just the beginning of your blogging journey. I have learned so much, and am continuing to learn. Here are some suggested resources for you:
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About the Author
Michelle Snell is a travel writer, history buff, wine lover, and enthusiast of different cultures. While she is a professional educator by day, her passion for travel has her jet-setting all over the world during her free time.
Michelle enjoys bringing places to life through her informative writing style on her blog, That Texas Couple. Her practical tips and suggestions help make travel dreams a reality while immersing her readers in the history, culture, and food of a region. She is happiest sipping wine in Italy or chilling on a beach with her husband, Marty.